A Super Small Bite
October- the new maple season!
Week 30 of Covid-19, October 8, 2020
Click "view entire message" at the bottom of the page to see all the content
The team at JJ Hapgood is having fun rolling in ideas enhancing sales
Prepared Foods at Grocers
A short shout out- we heard you want more info for your food service & prepared foods to support Vermont farms & food producers. We are reminding you of Just Cut. These food service packs are one way your prepared foods department can support VT farmers all year long.
Stay tuned for more bulk products for your meals to go programs.

Targeted promotions help customers new to pandemic-era home cooking navigate seasonal flavor changes. Woodstock Farmers Market sends out an email blast that is informative helping folks find flavor & ingredient combinations as new seasonal produce is introduced. Informed staff create trust adding to the shopper experience. 
The seasons are changing. Root crops are coming on strong from all our farms & greens remain plenty.
Stores are retooling displays, shifting their purchases among suppliers to keep produce well stocked. Decision making can be challenging, especially in small departments where customers tend to pick up a few "fill-in" items but do their primary shopping elsewhere. Educated staff help promote sales as does strong foot traffic & virtual stores via online shopping. Pre-packed produce, such as Cere's Greens can help minimize loss from lack of handling skills in a produce department. Quality control & product rotation, date-checking still needs to be in place & not taken for granted. Small stores without dedicate staff require protocols to ensure the freshest produce is being sold. As we like to say & teach "don't wait for old product to sell before stocking higher quality items". Older product beginning to decay will only drop in quality. Fresher producer will sell creating a more "vibrant produce stand". Check out some of our recommendations for a well-run produce department.
And the Sauce King NYC winner
(almost!) is Sugar Bob!
The first ever competition from Food Karma was not about the hottest sauce, but rather showcasing a range of all natural sauces: BBQ, hot, grilling & flavors for the home cook. Vermont did well in this inaugural event.
Runner up, Verde Sauce: Vermont Maple Sriracha Sugar Bob's Finest Kind

Honorable Mention for Most Versatile Sauce: The original Smoke Maple Syrup
(Sugar Bob is available through Lesser Distribution & DSD

Congratulations Sugar & cheers to all the Vermont competitors!
"What happened at Champlain Orchards could have happened on any of our farms, and this is a chance to support each other as a farming community, and to consider what
we may need if such a situation befalls any of us. "
-Terry Bradshaw UVM Extension
Apple & Orchard Specialist
Pumpkin Village Foods deliver maple syrup, cider, donuts & groceries to VT stores & NYC

It's October, our new maple syrup month. Due to the pandemic & lost sales at the height of maple syrup season, state agencies have shifted marketing to focus on the fall foliage season.

Pumpkin Village Foods, known regionally as a food distributor is also a premium producer of VT maple syrup. Whether a food manufacturer needs 100 gallon drums or a grocer is seeking a particular pack size, Seth can deliver to NYC or around the corner in northern Vermont.

Since covid, maple syrup sales are up 20% with sales in the organic category strong overall. Contributing factors include more baking, family breakfasts, learning to home cook & an increase in online sales as gifts to loved ones. This is sweet news for our producers who started the maple year with a frightening forecast as there we no visits allowed when the state shut down. Now our farmstands, grocers & sugarhouses selling direct are making up for lost sales with support from our statewide promotion.
UVM Extension agent Mark Canella watches the maple market closely. Here are a few tidbits from him: "Thinking is that now 7 months into pandemic, this is not just pantry hoarding…some portion of this 20% will likely be a sustained market demand increase. Maybe down slightly, but 10-15% growth is still good. With the increased sales & competition among producers it is yet to be determined if profit margins are up." 

We trust all grocers are taking advantage of this win-win with prominent maple displays.
To engage the public, VAAFM & Tourism celebrated all things maple with The Maple 100 a showcase of many activities & events. Statewide, producers have open houses offering maple-inspired products, & lost of activities including hiking & biking on woodland trails in sugarbushes. Catch the list of participating sugarhouses.
Down on the farm
Regarding the recent covid update at one of Vermont's apple orchards, the farm, food, & shopper community is standing in support of all who are impacted. This is from UVM Extension Agent Ginger Nickerson:
By now most of you have probably heard that some of the Jamaican crew members at Champlain Orchards have contracted COVID.
Many of us have worked with Champlain Orchards over the years through our jobs in Extension, and some of us have even had the privilege of working alongside the Jamaican guys as fellow employees of the orchard. They are an amazing group of people, and it is hard to imagine how challenging it must be to be dealing with the pandemic while so far from friends and family. 
You can find out more about the situation on Champlain Orchard’s website. While the state is helping in some ways, there is still going to be considerable cost associated with taking care of the men, making adaptations to housing to keep everyone as safe and able to quarantine as possible, etc. If you would like to help, you can make donations by scrolling down to the green button at the bottom of the webpage.
These funds will go towards purchasing supplies for the crew and making improvements to labor housing.
If you have ideas of other kinds of assistance or coordination of support efforts, please contact marketing@champlainorchards.com 
Unless otherwise noted, photo credits are from company social media, websites or Annie Harlow

Contact Annie H Harlow
to share your info & for food business resources


Grateful for the funding support provided by High Meadows Fund